The English Cocker Spaniel is a medium-sized dog with a compact, sturdy body and a solid build. They are well-balanced and strong, yet they are not bulky or cumbersome. The breed’s topline is almost level, with a slight scoop downwards from the withers to the base of the tail. Their chest is well-developed and deep, but it is not broad enough to hinder movement. Their upper planes of the skull and muzzle are relatively parallel, and the length of the muzzle and skull are approximately the same. Tails of this breed are typically docked and ears are long and hanging. They have oval-shaped eyes that are dark in color and a strong jaw with teeth that close in a scissors bite. They have round, cat-like feet with well-arched toes. The medium-length coat of the English Cocker Spaniel exists in a variety of colors including black, liver, red, and a number of parti-color combinations that may involve white with black, liver or red markings, or ticking. The underside and legs of this breed are feathered. There are two varieties of English Cocker Spaniels: show and field. The field variety has a shorter coat than the show variety.
The English Cocker Spaniel is good-natured, cheerful, energetic, and hardy. They are even-tempered, affectionate, and loving, and they get along very well with children. They are gentle, playful, and patient, and they respectfully obey all orders they are given. While they are usually social and outgoing, some English Cocker Spaniels may be reserved around strangers. The temperament varies greatly between specimens of this breed. Many dogs of the field variety are too active to keep as household pets. This breed usually gets along well with cats and other dogs.
The English Cocker Spaniel is susceptible to ear infections. Because this breed’s ears hang so low to the ground, ticks or burrs can get into the ear canal and cause deafness. Ears of this breed should be checked on a frequent basis. The English Cocker Spaniel typically lives for 12 to 15 years.
Although the first documentation of the spaniel’s existence comes from a description by Gaston Phebus that was written in 1300, it wasn’t until the 1800’s that the various types of English Spaniels were separated into seven different breeds. These seven breeds are: the Clumber, the Welsh Springer, the Sussex, the English Springer, the Irish Water Spaniel, the Field, and the Cocker. All of these spaniels are derived from a spaniel-type dog that was imported to England hundreds of years ago. The Springer Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel were developed together, and size was the only differential between these two varieties for many years. In 1892, the Kennel Club of England recognized the Springer Spaniel and the Cocker Spaniel as separate breeds. The name “cocker” comes from the word “woodcock”. Woodcocks are a type of bird that Cocker Spaniels were initially bred to hunt. English Cocker Spaniels are excellent retrievers and bird hunters. While they are more heavily utilized for life as a companion dog because of their sweet disposition, the English Cocker Spaniel is also naturally talented in areas of tracking, hunting, retrieving, watching, agility, and competitive obedience.
The medium-length, feathered coat of the English Cocker Spaniel needs regular brushing and combing. Some specimens are especially prone to mats and tangles. This breed’s coat should be bathed and dry shampooed as necessary. Ears should be checked regularly for debris and/or signs of infection. Excess hair on the feet should be kept trimmed and any burrs in the dog’s coat should be brushed out immediately. The English Cocker Spaniel is an average shedder.
The English Cocker Spaniel is content to live in a small household or apartment if it is given sufficient daily exercise. They enjoy physical activity, and they will greatly appreciate any amount of exercise their owner(s) give them. They are happiest with an average-sized yard.
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